Monday, January 12, 2009

Cranberry Vanilla Coffeecake

Here it is short and sweet...if you like cranberries and enjoy coffee cakes that are not too sweet than this one is for you! 

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I made this on Friday night when Jalen had two of his buddies over to hang out and play Wii.  It wouldn't have been my first choice as a dessert for the kids but I had cranberries that either needed to be used or thrown out and I remembered enjoying the photos of this cake on the blog Lottie & Doof.  I wasn't certain how well it would go over but I shouldn't have worried each of the four kids had TWO pieces.  Yeah, it was good!

Out of necessity I made a few changes to the recipe.  I highlighted 'em in red for ya!

Cranberry Vanilla Coffeecake (adapted from the December issue of Gourmet)

Make sure you read the directions carefully, the vanilla sugar you make ends up getting divided between the cake, filling and topping.

  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste)
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups fresh or thawed frozen cranberries (6 oz)
  • 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (I used kosher sea salt)
  • 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk (I used 2%)

Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle.

Generously butter a 9- by 2-inch round cake pan (I used a square 8x2 in pan). Line bottom with a round of parchment paper and butter parchment (I lined the pan with nonstick aluminum foil leaving an overhang as "handles" and then sprayed the foil with Baker's Joy).

Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into a food processor with tip of a paring knife (reserve pod for another use if desired). Add sugar and pulse to combine. Transfer to a bowl.  (This is where I really strayed from the recipe.  I didn't have any vanilla beans so I had to improvise.  I put the sugar in a medium bowl and added 3/4 tsp vanilla bean paste.  I mixed it well with a fork.  I then added another 3/4 tsp.  You could probably add the whole thing at once but I was trying to follow the recipe as best as I could.  After adding the first 3/4 tsp I realized that the sugar need more vanilla to make it vanilla sugar.  I probably could have done this in the food processor.)

Pulse cranberries with 1/2 cup vanilla sugar in processor until finely chopped (do not purée), set aside. (The cranberries become very juicy as they macerate.  Use a slotted spoon if you're concerned about the amount of juice.)

Whisk together 2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat together 1 stick butter and 1 cup vanilla sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down side and bottom of bowl. Reduce speed to low and mix in flour mixture and milk alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour, until just combined. Spread half of batter (it will be thick) in pan, then spoon cranberries over it, leaving a 1/2-inch border around edge. Top with remaining batter and smooth top (I added the top batter in five blobs and then spread them out until they met.) Blend remaining 1/4 cup vanilla sugar with remaining Tbsp each of butter and flour using your fingertips. Crumble over top of cake. Bake until a wooden pick inserted into cake (not into cranberry filling) comes out clean and side begins to pull away from pan, 45 to 50 minutes (I baked mine for 34 min).

Cool in pan 30 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely, crumb side up. (I don't know how you nicely get the cake out unless you do like I did and lined it with foil to lift it out.) Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.

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Btw, I used my new Lowel EGO light!  I need to get the hang of it but I hope in no time you'll see a marked improvement to my photos!

 

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